U.S. Representative Andy Barr (KY-06) pictured above during the House of Representatives China Task Force final report press conference in September of 2020.

Washington, D.C.— Today, House Foreign Affairs Committee (HFAC) Republicans released an addendum to their September 2020 report on the origins of COVID-19.  The addendum identified further evidence to indicate that the COVID-19 virus originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) Lab and the pandemic was likely started by an accidental lab leak. 

HFAC Republicans recommend a ban on federal funding for the genetic enhancement of viruses to make them more potent at least until an international standard for this research is set.  This type of research is also known as “gain-of-function” research. 

For a year and a half, the Chinese Communist Party has manipulated, mislead, and deceived the world about the true origins of the COVID-19 virus,” said Representative Barr. “Today’s report disproves the Wuhan wet market story and lays out extensive evidence in support of the lab leak origins theory.  

“Over 600,000 Americans died from COVID-19.  We will continue to work and deliver the truth to the American people about COVID-19,” Barr continued. “In the meantime, I join my fellow Republicans in calling for a ban on taxpayer funding of highly dangerous scientific research at least until international standards are set that prevent future outbreaks from occurring.”

Highlights from The Origins of COVID-19 Report:

  • The sudden removal of the WIV’s virus and sample database in the middle of the night on September 12, 2019 and without explanation.
  • Safety concerns expressed by top PRC scientists in 2019 and unusually scheduled maintenance at the WIV.
  • Athletes at the Military World Games held in Wuhan in October 2019 who became sick with symptoms similar to COVID-19 both while in Wuhan and also shortly after returning to their home countries.
  • Satellite imagery of Wuhan in September and October 2019 that showed a significant uptick in the number of people at local hospitals surrounding the WIV’s headquarters, coupled with an unusually high number of patients with symptoms similar to COVID-19.

Highlights from The Origins of COVID-19 Report Addendum:

There were significant concerns about the lax safety protocols in PRC labs, including from the head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the head of the WIV’s BSL-4 lab. 

There were multiple requests for maintenance at the WIV, including in their new facility that had been operational for less than two years. Some of those requests included maintenance on “environmental air disinfection system” and “hazardous waste treatment system” – which would indicate concerns about how these systems meant to prevent lab leaks were functioning.

Scientists at the WIV were conducting gain-of-function research at BSL-2 and BSL-3 safety levels.  A BSL-2 lab has the same safety protocols as a dentist’s office. 

Scientists have been able to genetically modify coronaviruses without leaving a trace of that modification since 2005.  Scientists at the WIV successfully modified coronaviruses without leaving a trace as early as 2016 – three years prior to the outbreak.

Shi Zhengli, one of the lead virologists at the WIV known as the “batwoman” for her work with coronaviruses, has repeatedly lied about:

  • The gain-of-function research being done at the WIV;
  • The People’s Liberation Army’s presence at the WIV;
  • The timing of when she sequenced the virus that is the closest known relative to SARS-CoV-2 in order to hide what they knew about that virus prior to the pandemic;
  • Safety protocols being followed when they were not; and why the WIV took their virus database offline on September 12, 2019.